David Ortiz just recently started running as he comes back from an Achilles’ tendon injury that cost him most of last season, but Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington expects him to be ready for Opening Day.
Evan Drellich of MLB.com passes along quotes from an interview with MLB Network Radio in which the GM indicated that Ortiz may be limited at the beginning of spring training, but “we don’t have any reason to think he won’t be in our lineup on Opening Day.”
That comes after Cherington traveled to the Dominican Republic last week to meet with Ortiz, who re-signed on a two-year, $26 million deal that includes incentives based on how many days he’s on the active roster.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.